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Surface thermodynamics and extended DLVO theory of Leptospirillum ferrooxidans cells’ adhesion on sulfide minerals

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2011, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 151-158

Vilinska, A.; Hanumantha Rao, K.


The adhesion of Leptospirillum ferrooxidans bacterial cells onto the sulfide minerals pyrite and chalcopyrite was evaluated using two different physical-chemical approaches; thermodynamic and extended DLVO theory. For the parameters incorporated into calculations, the zeta potentials and contact angles of powdered solids and bacterial cells were acquired experimentally. The Hamaker constants essential for Lifshitz-van der Waals interaction calculations were calculated following two different methods: macroscopic and microscopic. Adsorption tests were carried out at physiologic conditions to estimate the amount of cells adsorbed onto a mineral surface and the extent of alteration of that mineral surface in biobeneficiation. The free energy of adhesion was found to be negative for both minerals, indicating that the adhesion is energetically favored and preferred. The interaction energy diagrams of the total interacting force was also negative for the cases where the particles were charged oppositely; in the remaining cases, the total force was attractive after overcoming an energetic barrier caused by the repulsive electrostatic forces. Under the conditions of the adsorption test, the experimental results are in agreement with the theoretical; this suggests that the physical-chemical forces are crucial for bacterial adhesion.